Kibbutz Background & Resources

Definitions

  • kibbutz: one of 270+ communal agricultural settlements in pre-state and post-independence Israel; from the Hebrew for “gathering”.
  • kvutsa: early Zionist commune that evolved into kibbutz movement; from Hebrew for “group”.
  • urban kibbutz: city-based, non-agricultural Jewish communes in Israel. The first first was begun by Zionist youth groups in the 1970s. Many more have been founded in the last decade.
  • eco-village: an intentional community devoted to ecological sustainability; usually a member of the Global Ecovillage Network. Kibbutz Lotan in┬áthe Arava Desert is also an eco-village.
  • shinui: Hebrew for “the change”; the word used to describe the processes also known as “privatization” or “decommunalization” that swept the kibbutz movement from 1995-2016, including paying members differential market-based wages, selling off communal holdings, allowing members to own apartments and other property,┬áprivatizing once-free services (such as the dining hall and laundry).